Should You Be a Lawyer? The Answer Is Probably “No”

Updated on November 14, 2018
Ria Fritz profile image

Ria ditched her nonprofit office job in Chicago to teach English overseas. Needless to say, that transition gave her a fresh perspective.

Source

Television shows and movies tend to depict lawyers as powerful and wealthy, and to an extent, they’re right: corporate law is a lucrative business, as are certain kinds of personal injury law. However, getting the top-paying jobs may be out of your reach if you don’t have the right connections. If you’re not particularly passionate about a particular type of law, then you may end up stuck with a degree that you don’t enjoy and doesn’t even pay very well.

That said, if you’re in the early stages of exploring a legal career, don’t throw in the towel just yet! Examine your interests, strengths, and career options closely to see if heading to law school is right for you.

Necessary Qualities to Be a Lawyer

Attention to detail is critical for anyone wishing to be a lawyer. The tiniest detail in a client’s case can make or break how successful you are, and repeated mistakes will only lose you business – or worse. The stakes are even higher in criminal cases, and you can’t afford to slam together a paper the night before it’s due like you did in undergrad!

If the idea of studying for the LSAT is seriously putting you off, that may be a major red flag for you. Law school involves tons of studying, as does the bar exam. Everyday legal work involves a good amount of reading and researching. If you’re not even studious to buckle down for the LSAT, chances are high that legal work will make you miserable.

The biggest obstacle for some may be their inability to stay out of trouble. Once you’re a lawyer, you can be debarred for many legal infractions. Past infractions may not always keep you from attaining bar certification, but they will often keep you from getting a job.

Consider the Costs

Law school can be extremely expensive, and while scholarships exist, they will probably only put a dent in the total cost. According to U.S. News & World Report, the average in-state tuition for public law schools is about $26,264 per year – and of course, private or out-of-state schools cost a lot more. You also have to consider the costs of living you’ll incur, since housing and food aren’t free unless you’re living at home with generous parents.

Also remember that any time you spend going to law school full-time is time that you could have spent working. If your reason for wanting a JD is to further your career, make sure to research other ways to advance in your field. Experience is often more important than additional certifications. While part-time law classes are theoretically an option, it will take several years to complete your degree, and the likelihood of giving up and dropping out can be high.

Remember: some law specializations pay much more than others! Public defenders and nonprofit lawyers are often paid extremely little compared to corporate lawyers. You'll have a hard time paying off your student loans if you pick an over-saturated specialization that only offers low-paying jobs.

An Emotionally Draining Career

The competition to get into law school alone is intense. Once there, you’ll likely make a lot of friends, but may also encounter many people who have no interest in pleasantries. Studying sucks up a ton of time, meaning you won’t even get to decompress by partying the same way you did in undergrad. Since there’s an oversupply of lawyers right now, the competition to get a job means that you have to start the job hunt well before graduation.

Even once you get a job in the legal field, the work is rarely pleasant. Lawyers often work 60 hours a week, and even vacation time can be interrupted with urgent calls from the office. Labor and family lawyers commonly work evenings to accommodate their clients’ work schedules. Clients are sometimes hostile and unhelpful, and even the nicest ones can be short-tempered if they’re going through a tough time.

It gets even worse if you’re a criminal or family lawyer. Ever sat through divorce proceedings where kids are involved and both parents are flinging accusations at each other?

Do Some Soul-Searching

Why do you want to be a lawyer? Is it for the challenge of tough problem-solving? The money? The chance to make a difference in the world?

Ultimately, there may be a more viable way for you to achieve your dreams. If you like solving tough challenges while making a difference, becoming a researcher for a nonprofit may be the way to go. If you want money, there are probably a hundred other options that don’t put you in nearly as much debt as law school. Programming requires the same attention to detail as law while being somewhat more flexible with regards to skills and certifications.

If you’ve made it through this article and are still asking yourself “Should I be a lawyer?” the answer may well be no. You shouldn’t go into law because it seems like a decent option; you should go into it because it’s the option for you.

Of course, if the above warnings didn’t faze you at all, maybe that’s a sign that you’re seriously in love with being a lawyer! Congratulations! Hopefully you can find a law school that’s right for you and pick a specialization that gets you your dream job. Good luck!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • profile image

        Peter1324 

        9 months ago

        You guys haven’t heard much about CyberHackLord who really change my life. i got his info from my banker who recommend him to me about his credit repairing service after he heard about my car accident which i couldn’t be able to catch with my bill anymore. He raised my credit score to 811 and approve a chase auto loan worth $50k with a low cost rate. Contact info [CyberHackLord247 At Gmail Dot Com].

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        9 months ago from UK

        Choosing law is not for the faint-hearted.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://toughnickel.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)